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Must Read, January 11, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

January 11, 2012 | 4:24 am

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Photo: Reuters)

1.

How Mitt Romney’s GOP foes are doing Obama’s work for him


Christian Science Monitor claims that with Gingrich and Perry taking the New Hampshire victor and Republican frontrunner to task over his business past, they are utilizing a manoeuvre President Obama had been keeping up his sleeve for the final hurdle:

“Team Obama had hoped to drop the Bain bomb on Romney after he had secured the nomination. But that may have been too much to hope for, given Bain is such a juicy target. Romney’s business experience, after all, is central to his pitch for the presidency. And with Romney’s primary opponents anxious to salvage their candidacies, attacking the front-runner is only natural.”

 
2.

Iran and the West Rediscover Oil as Weapon


With Iran and the U.S. (and its allies) cranking up the rhetoric, it is unsurprising that both sides are eyeing a much-used weapon in their arsenals – oil. But, asks Der Spiegel, will such a step be as counter-productive as it has been in the past?

“Four decades after the 1973 oil shock, Iran and the West are once again embracing oil as a weapon. Tehran is threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, while the industrialized countries are considering a boycott of Iranian oil. But both sides will suffer if such tactics are used.” 

3.

To Avoid All-Out War Give Iran One Last Chance


Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in Bloomberg, makes the case for a final effort by an increasingly strident Obama administration to give Tehran the opportunity to sidestep all-out conflict:

“Republicans who still call Obama soft on Tehran are either delusional or cynical. His administration has moved a long way from engagement. In fact, it now appears to be moving inexorably toward war.” 

4.

Egypt’s Revolution a Year Later


Egypt expert Steven A. Cook discusses with the Council on Foreign Relations the way ahead for Egypt, a year after the start of a revolution that toppled Mubarak and now seems likely to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power - if the military is willing to relinquish it:

“There’s the potential for a significant struggle between a newly elected parliament that can legitimately claim a popular mandate and a military that retains executive authority and would like to continue to be the ultimate authority and source of power in the political system. That is setting things up for what is likely to be a clash between the parliament and the military.”

5.

Poster Child


The demands for modesty by a section of the utra-Orthodox community are not new, but Tablet examines how an attack on an eight-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh has brought a new focus to a growing phenomenon inside Israel:

“Naama Margolese, a shy blonde girl with blue eyes and glasses, became a household name in late December when Channel 2 TV aired a report about the ultra-Orthodox men who regularly taunted her on her walk to school. Naama wears skirts to her ankles and covers her shoulders like the rest of the students at her Orthodox school, called Orot, for girls aged 6 to 12. But ultra-Orthodox men call Naama and her friends whores and spit on them. The school’s ultra-Orthodox neighbors told the TV reporters the Orot girls deserved to be sworn at and attacked for violating the Torah’s command to cover up.”

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